Category Archives: Emergency response

Hospitalization after a chemical spill, West Virginia, 2014

Hsu J, Del Rosario MC, Thomasson E, Bixler D, Haddy L, Duncan MA. Hospital Impact After a Chemical Spill That Compromised the Potable Water Supply: West Virginia, January 2014. Disaster medicine and public health preparedness. 2017 Mar 6:1-4. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2016.193.

In January 2014, a chemical spill of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol and propylene glycol phenyl ethers contaminated the potable water supply of approximately 300,000 West Virginia residents. To understand the spill’s impact on hospital operations, we surveyed representatives from 10 hospitals in the affected area during January 2014. We found that the spill-related loss of potable water affected many aspects of hospital patient care (eg, surgery, endoscopy, hemodialysis, and infection control of Clostridium difficile). Hospital emergency preparedness planning could be enhanced by specifying alternative sources of potable water sufficient for hemodialysis, C. difficile infection control, and hospital processing and cleaning needs (in addition to drinking water).

Ms. Hillary Clinton Simply Mistaken on Hurricane Matthew

But there are a few glaring problems with Clinton’s premise that Hurricane Matthew was actually worse because of “climate change” – the first and most obvious being the question, worse than what? There was no bare-minimum destruction standard for Matthew, or any other hurricane for that matter. It was what it was, and any one of a million different variables could have caused it to turn out differently. This wild assumption of a statement may seek to carry emotional weight to influence voters, but it’s heavily lacking in factual evidence.” click here

What Happens When Government Dogmatically Controls Science; Bureaucrats Make Innocent People Suffer

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change.” here for more

Accidental Contamination of Drinking Water with Sodium Hydroxide

Luba Lendowski, , Harald Färber, Andreas Holy, Anke Darius, Bernd Ehrich, Christine Wippermann, Bernd Küfner, Martin Exner. Accidental contamination of a German town’s drinking water with sodium hydroxide. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2015.01.006

Case report of a very serious drinking water incident putting up to 50,000 inhabitants of a town near Bonn in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany at risk. A concentrated solution of highly alkaline water by sodium hydroxide was accidentally washed into the town’s drinking water at a pumping station and increased the pH-value of the water to 12. Residents who came into contact with the contaminated water immediately had a toxic reaction. The incident was detected by complaints from customers and after that was stopped within several hours. The pipes were flushed and the customers were warned not to use the water till the all clear. After this immediate management there was an investigation and the cause of the incident was detected as an accidental release of accumulated sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solution. The lack of a network alarm system and the automatic cut-off mechanisms as deficiencies in the design of the station were rectified by the water company immediately after the incident.

Paper is here (fee).

Sinkhole Threatens to Swallow Washington, DC

“A huge sinkhole that nearly swallowed a truck appeared in the streets of northeastern Washington D.C. in the late afternoon on Tuesday. D.C. Water spokesman reported that the sinkhole that—nearly as large as both lanes of the road on 13th Place NE near Farragut Place and Faraday Place—was caused by a water main break that undermined the integrity of the ground underneath the road.” click here

Household Bleach for Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water

Elmaksoud SA, Patel N, Maxwell SL, Sifuentes LY, Gerba CP. Use of household bleach for emergency disinfection of drinking water. Journal of Environmental Health. 2014 May;76(9):22-5.

Household bleach is typically used as a disinfectant for water in times of emergencies and by those engaging in recreational activities such as camping or rafting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a concentration of free chlorine of 1 mg/L for 30 minutes, or about 0.75 mL (1/8 teaspoon) of household bleach per gallon of water. The goal of the study described in this article was to assess two household bleach products to kill waterborne bacteria and viruses using the test procedures in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Purifiers. Bleach was found to meet these requirements in waters of low turbidity and organic matter. While the test bacterium was reduced by six logs in high turbid and organic-laden waters, the test viruses were reduced only by one-half to one log. In such waters greater chlorine doses or contact times are needed to achieve greater reduction of viruses.

Flooding Increases Microbial and Chemical Pollutant Loadings

Yard EE, Murphy MW, Schneeberger C, Narayanan J, Hoo E, Freiman A, Lewis LS, Hill VR. Microbial and chemical contamination during and after flooding in the Ohio River-Kentucky, 2011. Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Part A, Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering. 2014 Sep 19;49(11):1236-43. doi: 10.1080/10934529.2014.910036.

Surface water contaminants in Kentucky during and after 2011 flooding were characterized. Surface water samples were collected during flood stage (May 2-4, 2011; n = 15) and after (July 25-26, 2011; n = 8) from four different cities along the Ohio River and were analyzed for the presence of microbial indicators, pathogens, metals, and chemical contaminants. Contaminant concentrations during and after flooding were compared using linear and logistic regression. Surface water samples collected during flooding had higher levels of E. coli, enterococci, Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, adenovirus, arsenic, copper, iron, lead, and zinc compared to surface water samples collected 3-months post-flood (P < 0.05). These results suggest that flooding increases microbial and chemical loads in surface water. These findings reinforce commonly recommended guidelines to limit exposure to flood water and to appropriately sanitize contaminated surfaces and drinking wells after contamination by flood water.

Click here for paper (fee).